At the IBM Quantum Summit 2021, IBM (NYSE: IBM) unveiled its new 127-quantum bit (qubit) ‘Eagle’ processor, the company’s annual event showcasing achievements in quantum hardware, software, and the quantum ecosystem’s growth. The ‘Eagle’ processor is a major step forward in realising the huge computation potential of quantum-based technologies. It marks a turning point in hardware development when quantum circuits can no longer be accurately replicated on a traditional computer. IBM also gave a sneak peek at its plans for IBM Quantum System Two, the next generation of quantum computers.
Quantum computing takes use of the basic quantum nature of matter at the subatomic level to provide massively expanded computer capability. The quantum circuit, which consists of an organisation of qubits into quantum gates and measurements, is the fundamental processing unit of quantum computing. The quantum circuits that a quantum processor can execute are more complicated and valuable the more qubits it has.
IBM has unveiled comprehensive quantum computing roadmaps, including a way for scaling quantum hardware to allow sophisticated quantum circuits to achieve Quantum Advantage, the point at which quantum systems outperform their conventional counterparts appreciably. Eagle is the most recent phase in this scaling process.
Scale, Quality, and Speed are three performance metrics that IBM uses to track advances in quantum computing technology. The number of qubits on a quantum processor affects the maximum size of a quantum circuit that can be executed. Quantum Volume is a metric that defines how well quantum circuits work on a genuine quantum device. CLOPS (Circuit Layer Operations Per Second) is a metric created by IBM in November 2021 that quantifies the possibility of executing real-world operations involving a large number of quantum circuits.
Eagle processor with 127 qubits
‘Eagle’ is IBM’s first quantum processor with more than 100 operational and linked qubits, which was created and implemented. It comes after IBM’s 65-qubit ‘Hummingbird’ CPU, which was announced in 2020, and the 27-qubit ‘Falcon’ processor, which was announced in 2019. IBM researchers capitalised on advancements pioneered inside its current quantum computers, such as a qubit arrangement design that reduces mistakes and an architecture that reduces the amount of required components, to reach this achievement. The novel approaches used in Eagle allow for a considerable increase in qubits by placing control circuitry on many physical layers within the CPU while retaining the qubits on a single layer.
When conducting experiments and running applications, such as optimising machine learning or modelling new molecules and materials for use in areas ranging from the energy industry to the drug discovery process, the increased qubit count will allow users to explore problems at a new level of complexity. The IBM quantum processor ‘Eagle’ is the first of its kind, with a size that a conventional computer can’t properly imitate. The amount of classical bits required to express a state on the 127-qubit processor, in fact, exceeds the entire number of atoms in the world’s 7.5 billion humans.
“The arrival of the ‘Eagle’ processor is a major step towards the day when quantum computers can outperform classical computers for useful applications,” said Dr. Darío Gil, Senior Vice President, IBM and Director of Research. “Quantum computing has the power to transform nearly every sector and help us tackle the biggest problems of our time. This is why IBM continues to rapidly innovate quantum hardware and software design, building ways for quantum and classical workloads to empower each other, and create a global ecosystem that is imperative to the growth of a quantum industry.”
The first ‘Eagle’ processor is now accessible to select IBM Quantum Network members as an exploration device on the IBM Cloud.
Quantum System Two is IBM’s second quantum system.
The world’s first integrated quantum computing system, IBM Quantum System One, was announced by IBM in 2019. Since then, IBM has used these systems to power its cloud-based IBM Quantum services in the United States, as well as in Germany for Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Germany’s foremost scientific research organisation, in Japan for the University of Tokyo, and in the United States for Cleveland Clinic. Furthermore, we announced today a new collaboration with Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, to implement the country’s first IBM quantum system.
IBM’s processors are projected to mature beyond the infrastructure of IBM Quantum System One as the company continues to scale its processors. As a result, we’re thrilled to present IBM Quantum System Two, a notion for the future of quantum computing platforms. The IBM Quantum System Two is compatible with IBM’s upcoming 433-qubit and 1,121-qubit processors.
“IBM Quantum System Two offers a glimpse into the future quantum computing datacenter, where modularity and flexibility of system infrastructure will be key towards continued scaling,” said Dr. Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and VP of Quantum Computing. “System Two draws on IBM’s long heritage in both quantum and classical computing, bringing in new innovations at every level of the technology stack.”
The principle of modularity lies at the heart of IBM Quantum System Two. As IBM moves forward with its hardware strategy and develops processors with higher qubit counts, the control hardware must have the flexibility and resources to grow. Control electronics, which allow users to manipulate the qubits, and cryogenic cooling, which preserves the qubits at a low enough temperature for their quantum features to appear, are two of these resources.
The architecture of IBM Quantum System Two will include a new generation of scalable qubit control circuits, as well as higher-density cryogenic components and cabling. Furthermore, IBM Quantum System Two introduces a new cryogenic platform, developed in collaboration with Bluefors, that features a novel, innovative structural design that maximises space for the support hardware required by larger processors while allowing engineers easy access to and service the hardware.
Furthermore, the novel architecture opens up the prospect of providing a wider shared cryogenic work-space, potentially allowing numerous quantum computers to be linked. In 2023, the prototype IBM Quantum System Two is projected to be operational.
Statements about IBM’s future direction and purpose are subject to change or withdrawal at any time and are only intended to convey goals and ambitions.